This Week in D-I Women’s Hockey: Feb. 7, 2008

Puck-et List

KENNEBUNK, Maine — If you were to check back through the last few months of ramblings in the space, there’s one word in particular that is used very sparingly.


It is not the most desirable of words, and although it does have its place in such a setting as this, it’s best doled out as though forced through an eye-dropper (get it….).

Still, the rules can be bent a little, or so I’m thinking now as I gaze day-dreamily through my picture window at the eight inches of fresh snow that arrived here overnight.

But there is not just snow on my mind. There’s ice, too, and the many places I’ve been privileged to watch hockey players work their wonders on top of it. (Okay, it hasn’t all been wonderful. But it’s my contention that the worst hockey game is far better than the best basketball game. And it’s my column, so deal with it!)

I’m an arena freak. I enjoy visiting rinks for the first time, and I love going back to others for the 100th.

Each one is different, some homely, some stunning. But I love them all. And by my count, I’ve entered and departed some 42 different venues to watch college hockey. That’s a lot by some standards, not so many by others.

And also by my count, I’ve witnessed womens’ college hockey in 13 different chillboxes.

Here’s the list (not in any particular order): Bright Center, Matthews Arena, Conte Forum, Walter Brown Arena, Freitas Ice Forum, Schneider Arena, Thompson Arena, Meehan Auditorium, Alfond Arena (UMaine), Alfond Arena (Bowdoin), Whittemore Center, Rochester (N.H.) Arena, and the University of Southern Maine Ice Arena.

Oh, and Concordia College in Montreal, where I once did a “catching up with Cammi” piece for the Providence Journal. So that makes 14.

That’s the rundown. Notice a geographic trend? Notice that all (but one of ) those rinks are (like I am) planted in New England?

What that means to me is that there are plenty of new blessings to seek out, plenty even if confined to womens’ hockey.

There are so many places yet to see.

Here are a few I’ve written on my “puck bucket” list.

“The Ralph”. Ralph Engelstad Arena – Grand Forks, N.D.

Some call this palatial puck palace opulent, some call it a monument to excess. A friend of mine whose been there, calls it “a really cool place” to watch hockey. I must get out there, someday.

“The DECC”. Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center – Duluth, Minn.

When the history of women’s college hockey is written, this place, will go down as a cornerstone of the sport’s Western expansion. That is of no small significance. The site of this year’s Frozen Four. Hmmmm. Maybe if I yell loud enough, they’ll hear me in USCHO World Headquarters.

“The First”. Ridder Arena – Minneapolis, Minn.

The first of a kind. (Is it still the only?) Where else is there enough hockey passion to justify the construction of an arena devoted to women’s hockey?

(Notice another geographic trend?)

“The Last”. TDBanknorth Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.

It’s brand new, and it’s the only current ECAC rink I’ve never visited. Leaving that item undone will drive me nuts, so I’d better get down there.

“The Hope”. Yost Ice Arena – Ann Arbor, Mich.

Okay, so Michigan doesn’t have varsity womens’ hockey. That’s the point! Come on guys. And bring the Spartans of Michigan State in along with you. That way I can cross the Munn Ice Arena off my list, too.

Think Pink

Now for something a little more important.

Big kudos to the ECAC for their part in the upcoming “Pink At the Rink” fundraising and awareness initiative.

The effort is being conducted in consort with the American Cancer Society and the Coaches vs. Cancer program, and the ongoing search for a breast cancer cure.

Over the next two weekends, each of the league’s 12 teams will be donning specially designed pink jerseys. Those will then be available for auction on eBay, and it’s fundraising arm, MissionFish.

The minimum bid is set at $150, but there will be the opportunity to “Buy It Now” for a flat $250 price.

Also to be auctioned will be game worn ties and scarves sported by the coaching staffs of ECAC mens and womens teams, along with a host of other items.

For more info, log on to or www.ecachockey.